There are actually 2 separate parks connected by the Hogwarts Express. We chose to start our adventure as Harry did, in Diagon Alley first, then off to Hogwarts and Hogsmeade. The first thing to see is a section of Muggle London, and parked in front is the Knight Bus!
Through the magic passage in the brick wall behind the Leaky Cauldron is an amazing recreation of Diagon Alley. All the shops you read about in the book, and Gringotts bank in the center with a giant dragon on top.
A big draw was checking out everything in Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes. Joseph could not have been more thrilled to see bottles of "U-No-Poo," the constipation sensation that's gripping the nation. (As the saying goes, "Why are you worrying about You-Know-Who, you should be worrying about U-No-Poo.")
We splurged on an interactive wand for our little Gryffindor at Ollivander's. There are spots all over the parks where he could say a spell and do a specific wand movement to make something magical happen. So totally cool.
No duh, we had lunch at the Leaky Cauldron. Actually, some of the best fish and chips ever! We tried both regular and frozen Butterbeer, which kind of tasted like overly sweet vanilla cream soda.
Then we stood in line for the main attraction, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride. It is just astounding how these places are exactly like what you see in the movies. The ride itself was fantastic too. I read ahead and finished all 7 books, but Brent and Joseph have only finished 6, so they don't quite know all the references, but nothing was spoiled for them.
Finally we set off for Hogwarts and Hogsmeade in the other park. You guessed it, we found our way through King's Cross station to Platform 9 3/4.
Hogsmeade is recreated as a snow covered village (even though it was scorching sun and blistering hot!) with all the requisite stores and restaurants, including Honeydukes candy shop.
There's Hagrid's Hut!
Right next to a Hippogriff nest!
Seeing Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in person in absolutely mind blowing! The biggest attraction, the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride, is housed inside the building, so you get to walk through and see some of the most well known things in the books. The talking portraits were awesome!
There was so much to see and do between the 2 Harry Potter themed parks that we didn't do anything else in the rest of Universal Studios. Well, I had to stop and get a squishee at the Kwik-E-Mart in Simpson's World, but that was it.
No surprise that Joseph picked a chocolate frog for a treat!